Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Freezing Apple Pie Filling


In 2004, I discovered this wonderful recipe! Made some adjustments, and ever since, I’ve “mega-cooked” my apple pie fillings. The following recipe truly does store in the freezer for up to a year…in fact, just the other day I thawed one that I’d put up last September and the resulting pie was super!

Apple Pie Filling

  • 24 cups sliced peeled baking apples (6-7 lbs)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 ½ cups sugar (I use half brown sugar, half white)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 10 cups water

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice; set aside. In a Dutch oven (large kettle works) over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add water; bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apples; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Ladle into freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 ½ hours. Seal and freeze; store for up to 12 months. Yield: 5 ½ quarts (enough for about five 9-inch pies).

Okay, here are my tips. Instead of quart jars, I use gallon-sized freezer bags. Let the filling cool a bit before filling the bags (one quart per bag) and then flatten the bag to freeze it. This way, you can stack the “boards” of filling in your freezer and slide one out when needed. Less space needed, and the thawing time is shorter. After thawing, I heat mine up on the stove or in the microwave before putting it in my pie crust, and dot it with butter before sealing the top crust.

Along the same lines, you can stack and freeze your pie crusts. Roll them in your 8 or 9″ circles between wax paper, and stack them together in one of those two gallon freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using!

For a whole lot of fascinating information on making pie crust, and several recipes for “the perfect pie crust” go to Simply Recipes.

My pastry recipe is an old family one–tried and true–that uses butter-flavored Crisco. In light of that, here’s something I learned, that I’ll pass on, from the above site:

“The problem with shortening is that until recently, Crisco shortening contained a lot of transfats. Fortunately, they’ve come out with a new version, in a green can, that has 0 grams of trans fats.”

Now go make some pie!



Family Ties

Home-made Skirts in a Snap!

janasskirt.jpgDoes your girl-child have any jeans lying around with worn-out knees? Do you have a buck to spend on fabric? Oh, and a sewing machine or access to one?

Then step right up. This looks to be one easy sewing project.

My friend Jana is a great seamstress. In fact, she used to have her own business sewing up hooded baby/kid towels with the most adorable flannel-lined hoods. And the Easter dresses she sews for herself and her daughters are beautiful.

I can sew, and have for me and my daughters but I like to keep it on the easy side, so this latest of Jana’s brainstorms really appeals to me.

Here’s the details, and if you have any questions, be sure to post them in comments and Jana will be glad to answer them.

Take two strips of fabric (determine the finished skirt length you want, allowing extra for seam allowances and hem), you could use two different fabrics or both the same as shown in the picture. Cut one a little bit wider than the other, gather them both. Attach one to the other and then both to the jean “skirt”. Take special note of the overall dress! So cute!!

Thank you so much, Jana!


A Little Training Update

My little stinker of the “In Training” posts, seems to have an issue with being in the “spotlight”.

In the past two days, we’ve been at least equally as successful as not…in the toilet training department. Why? Well, when the Pavlov’s dog routine (goal-incentive) failed to work, I was at a loss. About this same time, toddler disappeared. Found her in the bathroom, having done her thing.

The little pill has gone in there FOUR times today (on the QT) and emerges, beaming, to announce, “I go potty, Mommy!” (Which I knew was the truth because I was outside the bathroom eavesdropping from the hallway!)

Not sure what I think about this. Hygiene aside, is this cool, or is this some streak of independence trying to assert itself?

Hopefully she just has stage fright or something when I’m crouching there acting my part of “toilet coach”! Cause we can sit there and sit there and nothing happens!

Family Ties Home Schooling

Contagious Collage

Want a good family read that stokes those fires of creativity? Get thee to the nearest library and check out Alphabet House by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.

It’s an A to Z book like many others with each alphabet letter getting its own page full of corresponding sounds, but the pictures are done in collage and they are amazing! A person could spend an hour enjoying all the details this artist put into her book.

And we couldn’t leave it at just enthusing over the coolness and artistry. Nope, we had to try it for ourselves. It is that engaging! Brown paper bunny families in yellow checked gingham dresses, little bunny girls doing the hula hoop, indoor homey scenes of mama bunny ironing or doing laundry with the twins helping…the mediums were anything from brown paper bags to white paper towels to sandpaper rooflines. (Get the book!)

So the first free afternoon we got (wouldn’t you know, the very next day!) we called our nearest homeschooling friends and asked if we could deluge upon them with scads of paper, glue sticks and scissors. Of course they said, “Of course!” Two hours of fun later, 4 kids had some really neat indoor and outdoor scenes to show off.

Cooking and Food Family Ties

Rainy Days and Tea Pots

I love tea pots. I only have two, and both were special wedding gifts. I use them whenever I have a good excuse for a tea party. Haven’t had a chance to make Chelsea buns yet, but with weather gloApples and Teaoming and we girls on the verge of “dooming”, I mixed up some lemon-poppyseed muffins (not from scratch), got the sugar cubes down and an almond dessert tea steeping…and we had a party!Nothing like a tea party to lift enthusiasm, especially on a damp and overcast day. My favorite treats would be scones with mock devonshire cream and jam, crustless cucumber sandwiches, cream puffs, cheesecake…mmm!


What Style Are You?

I admit I haven’t got any style choices for you to choose from in describing yourself, I’m just curious. If anyone knows of a neat site or quiz to help in determining this, would you please share it in comments and I’ll post it here? Thanks.

If you haven’t discovered The Space Between My Peers yet, check it out. Rebecca has great fashion advice that’s both frugal and modest, and pictures galore to illustrate her tips! I thoroughly enjoyed my stop!

Okay, so humor me by answering the following questions:

What do you wear when grocery shopping? I wear straight leg jeans or capris and a tee-shirt, sandals in summer, athletic shoes in winter. I’d like to expand my skirt wardrobe and wear skirts more exclusively this fall/winter…I have a wonderful pair of dark brown leather clogs that I love with long skirts!
What do you wear on a date with your spouse, or dinner with your friends? My guy’s a cowboy and loves the country-girl look…so for him I usually wear a long denim skirt with flats, or western jeans with boots. I also have a couple of western shirts that I love with the little snapped pockets and cap sleeves. I dress similarly for dinner with friends, except I’m more likely to skip the western jeans and wear my favorite pair of brown slacks with my peach-colored button up shirt with three-quarter length sleeves. We live in the small town mid-west, where casual is an understatement!

What do you wear to church? I don’t wear jeans, but I have been known to wear nice slacks and tailored shirts. However, in the last year I’ve been switching over to wearing skirts/dresses exclusively for church attendence. I have daughters that love dresses, and they love me in dresses. Don’t want to jeopardize that, especially in a world that doesn’t promote modesty.

How about you? And, if you want to, share your hair and eye color also…My eyes are green-to-hazel, and my hair is brown and to my mid-back.

Christianity Marriage Parenting

The Sting of Dying to Self

In 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 we see an awesome truth! I know it’s brought hope to my heart,

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Wade through this with me for a minute. If we want to be Christ-like in all our relationships, then we want to die to selfishness. We want to be self-less. It’s how most mothers best nurture their children, we’re selfless, we love them and sacrifice for them. When we trip up, it stings. It hurts to know we’ve lost our temper, or put our own interests ahead of theirs to the point that it’s hurting them.

Sin stings. And here is where I think most of the problem is in the anti-submission camp. Instead of finding grace and mercy in God when we mess up, we heap self-condemnation upon ourselves to the point that we get so discouraged we throw in the towel on God, on our husbands…on the law of dying to self forgetting that in Christ we have victory over sin and death. Oh the power of sin is the law. Sin has the power to destroy. Jesus died to set us free!

The other hang-up is that we think if we’re too self-less, our spouse will take advantage of it. Stiffen up (and remember I’m preaching to myself too), does God say to be self-less only when it’s in our favor? Are there escape clauses? (and I am not advocating that women remain in physically abusive marriages, I’m talking about personality/soul clashes between h/w).

Lest you think I’ve arrived, I haven’t. Just yesterday, yep after posting, I admit I was not dying to self when I got frustrated with dh for not going to the Awana kick-off with us. There was a big misunderstanding, which led me to believe he wasn’t going (which was going to break his little girls’ hearts) and when we were already running five minutes late, he came to the house grimy from working on his truck. He was going to clean up and go with us. Oh man, that ugly self reared its head within me. All I could think of was that he’d had all afternoon, and we were going to be late…and we’d invited a new family who’d be waiting on us to get to the church. And on and on. My reaction stung, let me tell you. It stung me and my kids. He saw that I was concerned about being late and told us to go without him.

I should have stayed there and urged him to come along, no matter how late it made us. The evening wasn’t the same without him.

But when these things happen, we’ve got to let it go. Confess it and continue walking in the spirit.

Dying to self.

Titus 1:15-16,

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him…”

Don’t deny God, deny self.

Christianity Marriage

Exploring “Dying to Self”

Dying to self…this simple Biblical phrase causes so much inner and outer turmoil as Christians try to reason it out. Christian women, especially.

Galatians 2:20 says,

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

We’re tripped up by this verse, evaluating it in terms of what we “lose” rather than what we “gain”.

Why is it that we automatically assume that what God asks of us will drag us down, instead of clinging to His promises and obeying in faith? His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Savor the following commentary by Alice Smith on Galatians 2:20 from The Evidence Bible:

“The path toward humility is death to self. When self is dead, humility has been perfected. Jesus humbled Himself unto death, and by His example the way is opened for us to follow. A dead man or woman does not react to an offense. The truth is, if we become offended by the words of others, then death to self has not been finished. When we humble ourselves despite injustice and there is perfect peace of heart, then death to self is complete. Death is the seed, while humility is the ripened fruit.”

Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate in humility, and what an everlasting gift…to die to self is to truly live and love as Jesus would.

In a perfect world, all Christian husbands would love their wives as Christ loves the church, and all Christian women would love their men so much that nothing would be too good for them…even if it meant denying herself in the process. Husband and wife wouldn’t take advantage of each other’s love, but esteem each other more highly than they esteem themselves.But we don’t live in a perfect world. Sin has brought suffering. We’re going to face persecution, hurts, injustices. How are we going to react? If not Biblically, then how?

Life as we know it is but a vapor. Learn from God as Job did. Who are we, anyway?

His creation.

Christianity Marriage

Dying to Self in Marriage

I was researching Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and wanted to share a sweet paragraph I found about their relationship:

“The many people who visited the home were impressed by the peace which flourished in the home. There was none of the quarreling or coldness so common in other homes. Husband and wife supported and admired each other. They prayed daily together. Evangelist George Whitefield, after spending a few days in the calm, happy Edwards home, was so impressed that he determined to get married himself. ‘A sweeter couple I have not yet seen,’ he enthused.

Jonathan and Sarah Edwards had eleven children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. Can you imagine what dedication would be necessary to cultivate your marriage in those days, especially from Sarah’s perspective?

I think most of us feel we have our hands full raising our children, homeschooling, housekeeping, cooking, yardwork, church responsibilities. And we have appliances, and many ways to “unplug” from the stress (Starbucks, anyone?). With all Sarah had to do, she didn’t neglect her man.

Before having children, I observed from behind the hazy curtain of newlywed bliss that the problem with marrige was that most women centered their all in all around their children. I determined that *I* wouldn’t make the same mistake. That my husband would always remain the priority.

I did pretty good till I became pregnant with our third child. Dh, wonderful guy that he is, urged me to stop getting up early with him in the mornings. Soon, I’d convinced myself that fixing his lunch fresh each morning wasn’t that necessary. After all, I was exhausted and having a rough pregnancy. I was entitled to some time off.

That feeling to entitlement is what gets most of us in trouble. That I have the right to be lazy, or the right to be cherished. I love how Nancy Leigh DeMoss said it best in her book, Lies Women Believe,

“Today it is assumed that,

  • you have a right to be happy
  • you have a right to be understood
  • you have a right to be loved
  • you have a right to a certain standard of living, to an equitable wage, and to decent benefits
  • you have a right to a good marriage
  • you have a right to companionship and romance
  • you have a right to be treated with respect in the workplace
  • you have a right to be valued by your husband and appreciated by your children
  • you have a right to a good night’s sleep
  • you have a right to have your husband pitch in with the household chores

And most important, if any of your rights are violated, you have the right to protest. You have a right to be angry. You have a right to be depressed. You have a right to take action. You have a right to insist on your rights!”

Last week I began getting up early again with dh, filled his lunchbox with good stuff and kissed him out the door. He appreciates it so much. And once I’m up, I’m grateful for that quiet beginning to the day.

Jonathan Edwards died of smallpox with this to say of his wife,

” …give my kindest leave to my dear wife and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long existed between us has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever; and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial and submit cheerfully to the will of God.”

What a marriage. What a woman. And their legacy of faith lived on for many generations in the lives of their great-great grandchildren.

Something to strive for.

Cooking and Food Family Ties

Orchard Time

If you think going to the orchard is all about picking apples, think again. My first “family fun” post at Writer Interrupted is today, titled The Orchard Tradition. Thought I’d post a couple of yummy apple recipes, both sure to bring raves!

This first one is a link to Shelli’s blog where you’ll find a great recipe for apple pie that’s baked in a brown paper sack in your oven! Shelli says it comes out with a wonderful “wood-fired” taste. Sounds fabulous, and I can’t wait to try it! Check it out: Brown Bag Apple Pie

And here is my favorite (from my good orchard buddy, Kim):

Apple Kuchen

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2-1 bag yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/4 tsp butter flavoring
  • 1/4 tsp coconut flavoring
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the above ingredients well.

  • 3 1/2 cups sliced fresh apples
  • 1/2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Take first six ingredients (mixed well) and lightly press as if a crust on bottom and up sides of greased 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes. Arrange apple slices on warm crust. Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on apples Blend sour cream and eggs together and drizzle over apples–will not completely cover it. Bake it for 25 minutes or till edges turn light brown. Do not overbake.

Apples come in many colors and for many uses. Certain varieties are better for eating out of hand, and others are better for baking, or for sauce. Certain ones will store forever (okay a few months) in the refrigerator. And there’s nothing better than this recipe for homemade cinnamon chunky applesauce! No canning necessary, make it and eat it fresh or freeze it for up to two months.

Now, if you want to know how to plan ahead and have family fun at the orchard, go read my debut post at Writer Interrupted!